Smiggels-Kavková: parties still fielding too few female candidates
Most of the country’s political parties have completed their candidate lists for the upcoming election to the lower house. One question on voters’ minds was or is – without a doubt – how many top female candidates would be nominated. The Communists, the Civic Democrats and the Greens have fielded four and three top names respectively, more than the other parties. Even so, observers, including Jana Smiggels-Kavková of Forum 50% which promotes gender equality, say there is still very little to cheer about.
The parties that have chosen more female candidates, and more top candidates, include the Civic Democrats, the Communists and the Greens. Have these parties shown – in the past – more of a willingness to field women candidates or is this something that is more or less a matter of chance?
“It’s very important here to distinguish here: the Green Party and the Communists traditionally support the idea of equality between men and women in politics. They are the only two parties that use positive measures to assemble their ballots. The Greens have a compulsory quota that among every three people on the list there should be one of the opposite sex; the aim is to have at least one-third of women on individual lists, including in top positions.
“What is very interesting is the situation in the Civic Democratic Party where they have chosen female candidates to top three candidates’ lists this year. The conservative party has three female leaders and this was a surprise because they used to have the fewest. In Prague they have even kind of a V.I.P. list where four or five out of the first ten are women, including the leader Miroslava Němcová. That is an important and surprising shift and a big improvement. I was very surprised in a positive way by this development and it is appreciated.”
One of the other bigger parties TOP 09 is fielding only one top female candidate and when party leader Karel Schwarzenberg was asked about it, he responded jokingly or off-the-cuff with a statement that women weren’t as interested in politics because of the allegedly poor pay or spoiled weekends. Without taking the statement out of context, it isn’t really true, is it?